News from the World of Photography: April 2017


Britain in Focus: A Photographic History 

Science and Media Museum
London, United Kingdom 
17 March - 25 June 2017

What does a Victorian carte de visite have in common with a selfie on Instagram? How has photography shaped our ideas about Britain's history, culture and identity?

From the 19th century to the present day, innovations in photography have radically changed the way Britain is represented and understood. Britain in Focus: A Photographic History, created in partnership with BBC Four to complement the TV series of the same name, illustrates how British photographers—amateurs and professionals alike—have documented, reflected and commented on their home country.

Explore some of the earliest examples of social documentary photography: David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson's portraits, and William Henry Fox Talbot's pioneering images of Lacock Abbey. Learn how First World War soldiers doubled as citizen photojournalists, using Kodak's vest pocket camera to create a unique record of the conflict.

Britain in Focus traces the path of an industry: how glass plates gave way to film cartridges, monochrome transformed to colour, and paper was replaced by pixels. From Julia Margaret Cameron to Nadav Kander, discover the visions of photographers whose images have helped define Britain.

Image: Durham Miners Pictured with their Ponies, 1965. © John Bulmer 

On View: Decadent Night Becomes Day in Manhattan Sunday

Pro Photo Daily

Richard Renaldi moved from Chicago to New York in 1986. In his book Manhattan Sunday, Renaldi describes his experiences as a young man who had recently embraced his gay identity and found a home in "the mystery and abandonment of the club, the nightscape, and then finally daybreak, each offering a transformation of Manhattan from the known world into a dreamscape of characters acting out their fantasies on a grand stage.”

In that sense, notes Aperture, which published the book, Renaldi’s work represents New York as “an evolving form onto which millions of people have and continue to project their ideal selves and ideal lives.”

Renaldi’s portraits, streetscapes and urban still life images convey the excitement of nightlife in a city that, as Aperture puts it, “persists in both its decadence and its dreams, despite beliefs to the contrary.” 

But the work, which is on view through June 11 at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, also captures the sublime moment when night becomes day.  “Implicit in the work is Renaldi’s personal experience as a gay nightclub denizen in New York during and after the AIDS crisis, as well as his appreciation for the myriad and motley ways that the urban context encourages social awareness and a strong, if temporary, sense of community,” notes the museum.

Image: © Richard Renaldi

Gillian Wearing & Claude Cahun: Behind the Mask, Another Mask

National Portrait Gallery
London, United Kingdom
9 March - 29 May 2017

This exhibition brings together for the first time the work of French artist Claude Cahun and British contemporary artist Gillian Wearing. Although they were born almost seventy years apart and came from different backgrounds, remarkable parallels can be drawn between the two artists. Both of them share a fascination with the self-portrait and use the self-image, through the medium of photography, to explore themes around identity and gender, which is often played out through masquerade and performance.

Rineke Dijkstra Wins 2017 Hasselblad Award

Hasselblad Foundation

The Hasselblad Foundation is pleased to announce that Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra is the recipient of the 2017 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography to the sum of SEK 1,000,000 (approx. EUR 100,000). The award ceremony will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden, on October 9, 2017. A symposium will be held on October 10 in honor of Rineke Dijkstra, followed by the opening of an exhibition of her work at the Hasselblad Center.

Rineke Dijkstra is one of the most significant contemporary artists working in photographic portraiture. Her large-scale photographs focus on the theme of identity, typically capturing her subjects at moments of transition or vulnerability. Working in series, Rineke Dijkstra’s images recall the visual acuity of seventeenth-century Dutch portraiture, offering intimate portrayals of her sitters whilst also suggesting the situated aspects of their being. Rineke Dijkstra’s investigations in portraiture also include video. Her fixed-camera video studies yield images that appear to be moving photographs, revolutionizing our understanding of the fluid boundary between the still and moving image.

Image: © Rineke Dijkstra 

The Shape of Things: Photographs from Robert B. Menschel

The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
Through 7 May 2017

The Shape of Things: Photographs from Robert B. Menschel presents an engaging survey of The Museum of Modern Art’s multifaceted collection of photography. Borrowing its title from the eponymous work by Carrie Mae Weems, the exhibition is drawn entirely from works acquired over the past 40 years with the support of Robert B. Menschel, telling the story of photography from its beginnings.

Covering more than 150 years of photography—from an 1843 view of Paris by William Henry Fox Talbot, the English father of photography, to An-My Lê's depictions of US military exercises in preparation for war in Iraq and Afghanistan—the exhibition underscores an equal attention to the past and the present, and a strong belief that they complement each other; and that each generation reinvents photography. Since Menschel joined the Committee on Photography at MoMA in 1977, over 500 works have entered the collection through his support, including 162 photographs he recently donated from his personal collection.

Image: Roger Fenton, Greek Hero. c.1857

America exports its addiction to bling across the globe; Lauren Greenfield captures it with her camera

The Los Angeles Times

Lauren Greenfield recently stopped at Target with her 10-year-old son. The idea was to grab a coffee and use the restroom. Before she knew it, she had a cart full of stuff, including a $50 jar of anti-aging face cream. Her son made her put it back.

Greenfield tells the story while sitting on a couch inside the Annenberg Space for Photography in L.A. days before the opening of her solo show, Generation Wealth, which runs through Aug. 13. She wears studious black-framed glasses, a black jacket and a breezy lavender blouse, looking very much out of step with the gold-plated luxury in the frames around her.

Greenfield has devoted the last 25 years to documenting the hollow promise of rampant consumer culture and what she calls “the influence of affluence.” The point of her Target anecdote: If someone like her still falls prey to the carefully engineered impulse to buy, buy, buy, imagine how vulnerable the rest of us are.

The people in the 195 prints on display represent seemingly every rung on the socio-economic ladder. They are strippers in Magic City, a club in Atlanta; teens getting a nose job in Hollywood; A-list celebrities partying in Beverly Hills; 6-year-old beauty pageant stars in Oxnard; kids doing sexy dances at fat camp in the Catskills; the new rich in China and Russia; families across the U.S. and Ireland that lost everything in the financial crash of 2008; and much more...

Image: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Vintage Photos of What Made Postwar New York City Tick

The New York Times LENS Blog

By the time Todd Webb arrived in New York City in 1945, he’d lived enough lives for several men. He had lost his fortune in the 1929 crash; hunted for gold in California, Mexico and Panama; worked for Chrysler in his hometown, Detroit; and served in the South Pacific as a photographer’s mate first class. But it was in New York City that his love of photography took off, albeit with a slight detour.

In 1942, on his way to report for duty in the United States Navy, Mr. Webb passed through New York to meet with Dorothy Norman, the manager of Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery, An American Place. He sold three of his photos to her before shipping off to war, only to return in 1945. A year later, he had his first exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, where he is now having a homecoming in A City Seen: Todd Webb’s Postwar New York, 1945-1960, which opens on April 20. 

The Museum of the City of New York’s exhibit features 131 of Mr. Webb’s prints and related ephemera like journal entries, all put in context by the work of friends and colleagues including Harry Callahan, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Gordon Parks and Roy Stryker.

Image: A soldier getting a shoe shine on 125th Street. 1946.   

Dispatches: Istanbul


“A photograph can be incredibly intimidating for cops,” Tuğba Tekerek, a Turkish journalist, told me recently. “They can use it to crush you.” The last twelve months have seen Turkey navigate an accumulation of violent incidents and growing surveillance; with them, the environment for photographers has changed for the worse. In this country, which occasionally tops the New York–based Committee to Protect Journalists’s annual list of the world’s leading jailers of journalists, taking pictures is an increasingly political and dangerous act.

Tekerek, arrested twice last year for photographing people in public spaces, was speaking from experience. When we met at a Caffè Nero one quiet morning last September, Istanbul had not fully awoken from the nightmares of 2016. ISIS suicide attacks on Istanbul’s main shopping avenue in March and in its airport last June, followed by a coup attempt by a religious cult that ended up killing hundreds of civilians in July, unsettled the city.

“Taking pictures here has turned into a big problem only in the past three years, following Gezi,” she said, referring to violent protests around Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park in 2013. Intent on documenting human rights violations, Tekerek often photographs in civic areas—the corridor of a courtroom, the garden of a police station. But these are the kinds of images likely to land the reporter behind bars. On the occasions Tekerek has been taken into custody, police officers have asked whether she is a terrorist studying the area for an attack. Twice, cops confiscated her camera and placed her in a locked room. Tekerek’s supposed crime, meanwhile, stays the same: her pictures contain images of uniformed or plainclothes police officers...

Image: Charlie Kirk, Okmeydani, Istanbul, Berkin Elvan Protest, 2013 

When Does Photography Stop Being Photography?


The British Journal of Photography

What is photography? Over the past few years, contemporary photographers have incorporated sculpture, performance, moving image, analog processes and digital technologies into their practice, stoking a sometimes-heated debate about where exactly the medium begins and ends. But for Catherine Yass, such experimentation is nothing new.

In a conversation with BJP and DACS, the not-for-profit artist rights management organization, Yass explained that she doesn’t, in fact, consider herself a photographer, but an artist who works with photography...

Having the freedom to try out new things is vital to Yass, which is why she values copyright as a way to help support her practice financially. Since 2014 she has been claiming royalties for the secondary use of her work through DACS’s annual Payback scheme, which is currently open for application until 01 May. “Just as I might pay someone for hiring a camera or a meal cooked in a café, DACS provides a way of being paid for the use of my work,” says Yass.

Any photographer or visual artist whose work has ever been featured in a UK book, magazine or shown on TV can make a claim for Payback royalties online. Last year more than 35,000 visual artists, the majority of them photographers, received a share of £5.5m.

“I’ve been claiming Payback for a few years now – it can help to cover pre-production tests and experiments that don’t necessarily get budgeted into production costs,” says Yass. “I am really excited about going back to stills and experimenting with taking photographs without using a lens,” she adds. “It’s very early stages, I don’t know if it will come to anything.”

Image: Decommissioned, 2011. © Catherine Yass. 

PERPETUAL REVOLUTION: The Image and Social Change

International Center of Photography (ICP)
New York, New York
27 January - 7 May 2017 

Organized by ICP Curators Carol Squiers and Cynthia Young, Assistant Curators Susan Carlson and Claartje van Dijk, along with adjunct curators Joanna Lehan and Kalia Brooks with assistance from Akshay Bhoan and Quito Ziegler, Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change continues ICP’s long-standing tradition of exploring the social and historic impact of visual culture.

Today, viewers are barraged by seemingly endless streams of new kinds of media images on an unprecedented scale. Perpetual Revolution explores the relation between the overwhelming image world that confronts us, and the volatile, provocative, and often-violent social world it mirrors.

This exhibition proposes that an ongoing revolution is taking place politically, socially, and technologically, and that new digital methods of image production, display, and distribution are simultaneously both reporting and producing social change. The epic social and political transformations of the last few years would not have happened with the speed and in such depth if it weren’t for the ever-expanding possibilities offered by this revolution.

Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change presents six of these critical issues transformed by visual culture: #BlackLivesMatter, gender fluidity, climate change, terrorist propaganda, the right-wing fringe and the 2016 election, and the refugee crisis.


The New York Times

"Before I paid much attention to photographers’ credits in fashion magazines, I remember the wonderful shock of the slightly crazed, insuperably elegant photographs of foods or fading flowers that I often encountered in Vogue. Exuding an indelible, instantly recognizable style, they were the work of the great Irving Penn — the first modern photographer whose name was fixed in my young brain.

Penn’s images were casual yet exquisite in every way: With their drizzled liquids, spilled spices and other raw ingredients, or their strewn petals, they felt innovative and intimate, as if tossed off by someone who had just exited, smiling. But their contrasting textures and vivid colors, enhanced by the sparkling white seamless background paper, and the wit and poise of their compositions, seemed like art, and almost out of place in a magazine. They evoked the still lifes of Chardin and Manet, but were now and new, with a refinement of detail and color that only a camera could manage. As I browsed through an issue, I would hope to find their wonderful disorder and their bold scale, which was close to actual size. I pored over them, detail by detail.

Two food photographs, taken in 1947, greet you at the entrance of Irving Penn: Centennial at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a crystalline exhibition in which nearly every gallery exhales its own delicious breeze. “Still Life With Watermelon, New York” features a compote of fruit, a rumpled napkin, a loaf of broken bread and even a stray fly atop a lemon, and looks to Spanish and Dutch still life for inspiration, but has some contemporary slovenliness..."

Irving Penn: Centennial
Opening April 24 and running through July 30 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 212-535-7710,

Sony World Photography Awards 2017 Winners

World Photography Organization

Marking its 10th anniversary in 2017, the Sony World Photography Awards showcases the best photography in the world from the past year. Free to enter and open to all photographers, the awards’ are an authoritative voice in the photographic industry, with the power to shape the careers of its winning, shortlisted and commended photographers.

In 2016 the total number of entries received since the first edition in 2007 surpassed 1 million images, reinforcing its position as one of the most respected and influential photography competitions in existence.

Each year a total prize fund of $30,000 (USD) plus the latest Sony digital imaging equipment is shared between winning photographers. Photographers are taken on a year-long journey, bringing untold exposure and providing a global stage on which to present their work.

The hugely popular Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition, featuring a selection of winning, shortlisted and commended images, is curated at the prestigious Somerset House, London each Spring.

A Photo-Series About Modernist Buildings and the Female Form


A woman stands naked in the desert on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park, in the brittle shadow-lines of a golden Modernist structure. Her name is Jacintha and, stepping back, we can see she has company – Brazilian-born, LA-based artist Mona Kuhn stands behind a camera, capturing her image through a variety of optical planes as the light of the sun morphs her form.

Jacintha is the muse who inspired Kuhn’s latest series, She Disappeared into Complete Silence, named after Louise Bourgeois’ first monograph; Kuhn is adamant that, although her and Bourgeois’ work may appear very different at first, they share “a similar curiosity in using the body and elements of architecture to express the mind and the unconscious”. She’s confident the series is her best work yet; it sees her acclaimed capacity for intimate portraiture fuse with new experimental ways of seeing, an abstraction of the nude that she’s still trying to define...

Image: © Mona Kuhn

Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017

The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Tate Modern
London, United Kingdom 
Through 11 June 2017

This is Wolfgang Tillmans’s first ever exhibition at Tate Modern and brings together works in an exciting variety of media – photographs, of course, but also video, digital slide projections, publications, curatorial projects and recorded music – all staged by the artist in characteristically innovative style. Alongside portraiture, landscape and intimate still lives, Tillmans pushes the boundaries of the photographic form in abstract artworks that range from the sculptural to the immersive. 

The year 2003 is the exhibition’s point of departure, representing for Tillmans the moment the world changed, with the invasion of Iraq and anti-war demonstrations. The social and political form a rich vein throughout the artist’s work.

German-born, international in outlook and exhibited around the world, Tillmans spent many years in the UK and is currently based in Berlin. In 2000, he was the first photographer and first non-British artist to receive the Turner Prize.

Image: La Palma 2014 © Wolfgang Tillmans

The Art Newspaper
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) announced last week plans for a new photography center that will house the museum’s collection following the controversial decision to transfer 270,000 photographs from the National Media Museum in Bradford to the London-based institution. 

Under the landmark agreement announced in February last year between the V&A and the Science Museum Group, which runs the National Media Museum, the collection of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) in Bradford will join the existing collection of 500,000 photographs at the V&A. More than 26,000 publications and 6,000 pieces of camera-related equipment in the RPS collection, which was founded in 1853, will also be transferred to the V&A where the holdings will be digitized.

Opponents of the transfer project included the photographer Martin Parr and the artist David Hockney who signed a letter to the Guardian last year saying that the move stripped Bradford of a major cultural resource. Parr tells The Art Newspaper: “My main concern now is the fate of the collections that still remains in Bradford, such as the Tony Ray-Jones archive, and other works that were given or sold to Bradford, that have local or northern connections.” 
Image: Benjamin Brecknell Turner, The Willowsway, Elfords, Hawkhurst (1852-4) (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London)


Paradise of Exiles: Early Photography in Italy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art begins with the first photographic images to arrive in Italy, a delicate 1839–40 album of botanical negative images sent by William Henry Fox Talbot to botanist Antonio Bertoloni. The ghostly silhouettes of ferns, grasses, and other specimens, created with Talbot’s cameraless “photogenic drawing” technique, set a tone of experimentation for the small show on the inaugural three decades of photography in Italy.

While the dawn of photography may be more associated with England (where Talbot invented his salted paper process) and France (where Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre introduced the daguerreotype), Paradise of Exiles argues that Italy was integral as a place of exchange between travelers and locals working with the new possibilities of the photograph, these two techniques mingling at the same moment. Organized by Beth Saunders, curatorial assistant in the Met’s department of photographs, the exhibition stretches from 1839 to 1871, the year of Italian unification, through nearly 50 objects.

Paradise of Exiles: Early Photography in Italy continues through August 13 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan).

Image: Pietro Dovizielli, Temple of Vesta (1855)
(courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gilman Collection, Purchase, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2005)

Arnold Newman Prize: Daniella Zalcman


Daniella Zalcman is the 2017 Winner of the Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture. Her project, Signs of Your Identity, depicts survivors of Indian Residential Schools; each image is accompanied by a quote from the subject. This portfolio of 10 images covers victims in Canada and the United States. Zalcman is already working in Australia and plans to extend the project to various other countries that have iterations of residential schools that indigenous students were forced into. The project delves into the lasting trauma of these schools. She was recently named one of pdn’s 30.

The Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture was established in 2009 by the Arnold & Augusta Newman Foundation. The Prize is generously funded by the Arnold & Augusta Newman Foundation and proudly administered by Maine Media Workshops + College, where Arnold Newman taught for more than 30 years. The 2017 jurors included Philip Brookman, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Jody Quon. Finalists were Sophie Barbasch for her project Fault Line, Daniel Coburn for his project The Hereditary Estate, and Jessica Eve Rattner for her project House of Charm.

Image: Rick Pelletier, Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School 1965-1966 © Daniella Zalcman